COLUMBIA — In a rare foray into a South Carolina political race, former President Barack Obama taped a new ad supporting Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Jaime Harrison in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Lindsey Graham.
The 60-second spot airing in South Carolina features Obama speaking direct-to-camera about how the Palmetto State helped propel him to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
“Now you have the power to make history again by sending Jaime Harrison to the U.S. Senate so he can bring some change to South Carolina,” Obama says.
“If you want a senator that will fight for criminal justice reform, lower college costs and to make health care affordable, you’ve got to vote for my friend Jaime Harrison,” he adds.
While Obama has endorsed a slew of Democratic candidates in races all over the country, he has been much more limited in using his time and political capital to actively campaign for any of them.
Harrison is one of at least four Democratic U.S. Senate candidates whom Obama has cut ads for over the past few days. The others are incumbent Gary Peters in Michigan, Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Sara Gideon in Maine — all locked in highly competitive races.
Harrison said he was honored to receive Obama’s support, while S.C. GOP chairman Drew McKissick said the ad shows that Harrison, a top official at the Democratic National Committee, “is connected with the national Democrat baggage, whether he wants to be or not.”
The Obama ad is the latest in an increasing number of high-profile politicians weighing in on the South Carolina race.
Graham has recently used video testimonials from two of South Carolina’s most popular Republican politicians: U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and former Gov. Nikki Haley. In Scott’s ad, he says Graham is “a good South Carolinian,” while Haley details Graham’s humble upbringing and calls him “a fighter.”
While President Donald Trump supports Graham, one of his closest congressional allies, he has not personally taped any similar ads for him like Obama did for Harrison.
After the Obama ad came out, Graham swiftly sent out a fundraising email about it, warning his supporters that it will help his opponent “raise millions.”
“President Obama’s endorsement makes it absolutely clear that the Left is determined to defeat me and flip the Senate to blue,” Graham wrote.